Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing communications between your organization and its audience(s). PR uses topics of interest or news items to promote awareness and it builds rapport with a wide-ranging constituency from internal staff to the general public. Common PR activities include speaking at conferences, working with the media, and social media engagement.
Working with the media in particular can seem daunting at first. But a little homework, planning, and persistence can produce meaningful results. In addition to raising awareness of your organization's work, news coverage supports your credibility in the community, attracts collaborators, and demonstrates your project or center's impact. With some preparation, practice, and persistence, getting good media coverage is not very difficult, and the rewards can be excellent.
The first step is to choose one person to become your media or outreach liaison. This person will be the point of contact for media and others who are interested in your project or center. Having one person will make it easier for the media (and other audiences) to find you and it helps to keep your communications consistent.
Next, you should develop tools for a successful communications campaign. Most of these tools can be widely repurposed, so tracking them all in one master messaging document will save a lot of time and energy. You don't want to wait until media calls to have the latest version of these materials pulled together. Everyone should have access to the document in the event that the liaison isn't available.
The Communications Guide is organized into eight parts:
- Suggestions for how to develop your organization's Mission Statement
- Help with creating your project or center's Key Messages
- Tips on how to Make News
- A section on how to Pitch Your Project or Center
- Guidance on Creating a Media Kit
- A section to help with Choosing Media Outlets
- Descriptions of Potential Outreach Paths for all of your outreach and dissemination needs
This Guide walks you through how to create and work with each of these tools. Don't miss the helpful sources and resources at the end!